3 options to replace Glen Johnson at Liverpool


Following on from his scouting report on three potential left-backs for Liverpool, Scott Taylor brings you three right-backs that could potentially replace Glen Johnson.

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - Boxing Day Thursday, December 26, 2013: Liverpool's Glen Johnson in action against Manchester City during the Premiership match at the City of Manchester Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Johnson’s future at Anfield looks increasingly in doubt due to his contract situation and a severe dip in form of late. Hare are three candidates to replace the England international – again, ‘obvious’ candidates such as Martin Montoya aren’t included.

Nathaniel Clyne

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Saturday, December 1, 2012: Liverpool's Raheem Sterling in action against Southampton's Nathaniel Clyne during the Premiership match at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Southampton right-back Nathaniel Clyne is a tremendous talent. Although, he wasn’t a product of the Southampton academy, instead he joined from Crystal Palace in the summer of 2012.

Clyne may have had his talent recognised at Southampton, but he was still a vital figure when he was at Crystal Palace.

Before joining the Saints, Clyne won the Crystal Palace young player of the year three times in succession from 2010-2012. In 2010, he was also voted Football League young player of the year before featuring in the PFA Team of the Year in his final season for his hometown club.

Overall, he made 137 appearances for the Eagles despite being only 20 when he left, which speaks volumes about his ability.

Since joining Southampton, the 22 year old has featured 49 times for the Saints.

Although Clyne does not have European experience just yet, he has international experience being a regular in both England Under 19s and England Under 21s.

Clyne is similar to current right-back Glen Johnson because he has the ability to play on both flanks, an attribute that the Reds have been desperately searching for. Such versatility is an added bonus for Brendan Rodgers.

Mattia De Sciglio

AC Milan right-back Mattia De Sciglio is a talented player that has come through the ranks at Milan and has since made 37 appearances in Serie ‘A’.

However, unlike Clyne, De Sciglio has European experience in the highest of levels in the form of the Champions League. The Italian has made nine appearances in the Champions League even though he is only 21 years of age.

The only disadvantage for the right back is that he has failed to register a goal for Milan and this could be a problem if he doesn’t get forward and create chances.

This season, he has been a regular in the Milan side, wearing the number two shirt famously worn by the likes of Cafu. Also, he can play on both flanks like Clyne and with his lethal pace; he has the potential to cause a problem for both sides of the pitch.

Furthermore, De Sciglio has international experience in all levels from Under 19s to the Italy national side. The full-back is a proven player at both Milan and Italy, playing against sides like Juventus and Brazil.


Porto right-back Danilo is a year older than De Sciglio and the same age as Clyne (22).

Danilo is equally as experienced as the previous two targets, playing 129 games, across two continents.

He’s the second Porto full-back to feature in this series, following left-back Alex Sandro. Like Sandro, Danilo already knows what it means to play ‘tika-taka’ style football.

The attribute that makes Danilo stand out is his impressive goal scoring ability. In the 129 games he has played, Danilo has scored 12 goals, a goal to game ratio that can even rival some midfielders.

He is also experienced in Europe playing for Porto in the Champions League and plays for the Brazilian national side after previously earning caps at Under 20 and Under 23 level.

Now, you may be thinking why aren’t Liverpool linked with such a talent? The answer is that he has a €50m release clause, which is too much for the Reds’ liking and this makes teams lose interest.


The best thing about all these targets is that they can come straight into the squad and no doubt perform, something which Brendan Rodgers needs after buying many squad players in the summer.

The target I would buy is more than likely Mattia De Sciglio. This is for three reasons; primarily, he has vital European experience at the highest level and will be important in Liverpool’s success.

Secondly, he is only 21 years of age, meaning that he can improve with age and work on his weaknesses that stops him from becoming a world class full-back.

Finally, De Sciglio can play as both a right back and a left back and this versatility will help as the Reds have struggled to play a full strength back four this season.

Do you agree with the targets? Who would you like to buy from that list and for how much? If you have an answer to any of these questions than be sure to leave your comments below or tweet me: @ScottTaylorUK.

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Writes about the Liverpool Academy. Visit his website here, follow Scott on twitter @scotttayloruk.

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    • He’s in my opinion between overpriced English and injury prone. Wisdom is a Richards esque player, strong and fast as a bull, so we don’t need another of this type

  1. why are all our targets so young even TIA only go for young options .have we all given in to fsgs moneyball policy ,with gerrard coming towards the end of his career surely we need some experience two if we are going to go down this route we may as well give kelly ,wisdom and flanagan a proper run first they may prove as good as these

  2. I think a great young future player and maybe current player for this role is Daniel Opare the young ghanan international is speedy a great cross of the ball, knows how to dribble and issstill young a great player that shouldn’t be overlooked

  3. Because (hopefully). We will be competing in Europe, competing in the Premier League and have two sucessful domestic cup runs. This is impossible without a squad – and a team competing in Europe and competing for the top four in the league needs a strong squad with proven quality in it. I certainly would agree that Kelly and Flanagan (both have greatly impressed me, Flanagan not so much) need to be integrated to said squad more agressively.
    However as far as I am concerned, until the young players mentioned have showed some consistant, good quality displays in meaningful competition, it would be folly to leave ourselves exposed in a position by not signing someone with proven quality and the ability to perform in important games under pressurised conditions

    • worry about now mate not too far ahead we are not there yet. They are not given games so how else are they going to gain experience? Look at what Wenger does he ease them into the squad not just loan them all the time.

      To be honest none of the players targeted are proven or finished product . LLori Aspas Alberto Borini Allen Mosses Aly the list goes on and the money adds up my question is why are we wasting $$$. Give our kids a shot first then go elsewhere and buy real quality not

  4. As a Liverpool and Ac Milan supporter (ironic right? It’s because a part of my family is from Milano) i can easily say that Mattia De Sciglio is far more talented than any of Liverpool’s current young wing backs. Both defensive and offensive. A great possible signing that can play both left, right and centre if needed. Personally i don’t like Martin Kelly as a fullback/wingback. He’s not fast enough and his offensive abilities is too weak too be playing for a top 4 PL side. Wisdom has great potential, but he’s too young and inexperienced for a top 4 PL side.

    • Kelly was plenty fast before his injury. Haven’t seen enough of him since to comment on how much pace he may have lost. He needs more game time though…GJ has been shit!!!

  5. Finally someone with some sense … But unfortunately Mr the Squad is thin Loaned out half of them and Jack Robinson will never comeback regardless of all the improvements and experience he has gained!

    • Yes as I mentioned, I fully appreciate that these youngsters need to play more. Like you said I also advocate easing them into the squd, which I why my argument leans towards signing experience. Otherwise you are not easing anyone into anything, you are just throwing them in at the deep end with no experienced cover for when things inevitably will go wrong, and they will, as we all appreciate these young players are still learning. You are correct about giving the kids a go, but no top Premier League manager is going to sell himself short by not signing a replacement for a first team regular, when all he has as back-up is enexperienced youth.
      As for the players ‘targeted’ in this article, to be fair I never said they was the finished article, nor did I agree with the author that they would be worthwhile signings, I merely responded with my opinion to Chris the Red .

  6. Chris, respectfully speaking, I don’t think you’re understanding the difference between being the first choice RB and part of the squad rotation RB. If Wisdom is good enough then why was he sent out to Derby on loan? And I don’t get why everyone is talking about Kelly right now. The lad is clearly not up to speed at this point of time. We can’t look at his form from over a year ago and then use it to justify him being the current replacement. All other names you’ve mentioned have some ways to go and maybe in the future one of them might be good enough to make that position their own.

    Until then, we have to look for a proper replacement who can play at the level and standards that LFC demands.

    • Agree with you there. Kelly hasn’t looked the least bit challenging for that starting spot and I think still lacks that technical ability on the ball. Flannagan on the other hand has improved on leaps and bounds, time will improve him as a player.

  7. All I’m hearing is the Salah deal at the moment. Hopefully the powers that be at LFC are working to get additions to LB and RB positions as well.

  8. where is Kelly guys… he was awesome when kenny was here… hope he is fit now.. i wish to see him instead of Johnson

  9. I am really worried about our midfield. Lucas is a big blow. It is clear as daylight that we can’t play a system with only 2 CM. Aston Villa destroyed us at home playing that system. We need a 3 man midfield to support the SAS, but our 3 CM are Allen, Henderson and Gerrard and that’s it. We have no depth at all. What if one those players gets injured next.

  10. Well, it hasn’t happened has it Chris? Talk about Andre Wisdom and he’s loaned to Derby. Talk about Kelly and you’re assuming that his old form will come back and he’ll perform at that level injury free. Same case with Flanno. And Ryan is only 19 years old mate – let’s wait and see how he performs at the club he’s loaned to and then see if he’s even ready for Premier League football. It doesn’t matter that there are 2 players waiting in the ranks or 4(or 6..).

  11. But most fans aren’t happy with Johnson at the moment and want someone to compete with him for that spot. The reason he’s an automatic starter at the moment because all the other names you mentioned aren’t up to speed with the requirements of that position.

    You say Wisdom was loaned out because he needed regular football, not because he’s not upto the standard. But if he was, then he’d be in the squad right now giving Johnson a run for his money. It really is quite a simple equation that way. Mind you, I’m not saying I don’t believe in the lad. I was one of his biggest fans last season. But making that cut from promising youngster to starting XI mainstay(or even regular squad level player) is not always a smooth transition.

    Regarding Kelly, I’m not assuming anything mate. The onus of assumption lies on you since you are claiming that he will once again be starting XI material. I am merely disputing it by saying there is a chance. He is another kid I had very high hopes for, but there’s still a lot of work to be done after his ACL injury. Our whole team formation suffers at the moment when he comes on because he simply isn’t up to full match fitness. And unfortunately, time is running out in some ways for Martin since he’s already 23 years old. I feel bad for him in that respect since there isn’t a whole lot he’s done wrong in his Anfield career – he’s just been desperately unlucky.

    Finally, I’d just like to say, think about the level of players BR is targeting for that position(Martin Montoya) and other possible recruits(Nathaniel Clyne) and compare them to our current crop of youngsters and tell me that you don’t see a difference with a straight face. All I’m saying is that we can’t go on the assumption our youngsters will come through for us. Keep both forms of plans(youth team and transfer targets) ready.

  12. To be fair Johnson has been rulled out indefinately with injury. It was clear that he suffered a dip in form when “coming back from injury”. When he is 100 percent fit, he is a good Liverpool player. The best RB we have. Don’t even bring up Kelly. He is a decent player, but Glen Johnson is better. Although I am really impressed with Flannagan, hes improving on leaps and bounds. As it looks we need a LB and DM. Those two are priority right now.

  13. I think Rodgers will be having a real good look to see how Ryan Mclaughlin gets on with his short stint at Barnsley as he has reportedly impressed so far. I can really see him being a long term replacement for Glen Johnson as he has loads of pace and is also good enough on the ball. Been very impressed with him playing for the youth team so why not give him a chance when he’s back from his loan spell

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